Alums start leatherwork business, plan to unveil WKU products at Homecoming

Kayla Boyd

Clayton & Crume has a certain regal sound to it. As a leatherwork business specializing in belts and key fobs, the owners of Clayton & Crume believe the name has done its job establishing an identity for the company.

A Louisville-based business founded and owned by Clay Simpson of Louisville, and Tyler Jury of Elizabethtown, Clayton & Crume got its name from its founders. Clayton comes from Simpson’s first name and Crume comes from Jury’s father’s middle name.

“My name didn’t sound as good for a leather goods company as his did, so we had to get creative,” Jury said. “I have really grown fond of the name.”

Both Simpson and Jury graduated from WKU in 2012. Simpson was a marketing and sales major and Jury was a chemistry and biology major. While in school, they recognized a need on campus for new accessories, primarily belts.

“We wanted WKU belts, and what we found just didn’t make the cut,” Simpson said. “So we bought some leashes, cut them apart, threw some leather on there and called it a day.”

The belt prototype stirred up enough attention from other students that Simpson and Jury began to seriously discuss starting a business together.

“We knew what we wanted to produce and how we were going to do it,” Simpson said. “We stayed up all night planning and haven’t looked back since.”

Clayton & Crume was officially founded in December 2012. Since then, the business partners have unveiled a variety of leather belts, key fobs and iPhone sleeves that can be ordered online.

A day at the office of a leatherwork business isn’t the typical pen-pushing job.

“We like to think that a work day at C&C is better than one at Google,” Jury said. “When we hit a mental block, we take a foosball break. We have some pretty intense matches at the office.”

The business end, however, isn’t always fun and games. They usually juggle several tasks at once, from custom designing products to communicating with clients and other projects spread across their work table.

“If you walk in on a typical day, you would find one of us sewing and working with leather, while the other was working design, ordering materials, or reaching out to potential suppliers and clients,” Jury said. “As a start-up, we are constantly looking to improve our business and grow our brand, so there is a lot of strategic planning involved.”

The leather Clayton & Crume uses comes from several different leather suppliers, depending on the product. They source everything from American tanneries and said they are fairly picky about what ends up in the final product.

Jury said the typical time it takes to complete and ship and order a product from their website is between two and three weeks. Custom work takes anywhere from four to six weeks. They also offer rush options for clients who require a quicker turnaround.

“It takes a while, but we’re getting faster,” Simpson said. “Everything that leaves the office has been touched and worked on by both of us, and we like to take our time. We aren’t really in a mass-production mindset.”

Simpson and Jury have been working meticulously to obtain their official license to sell WKU products. As long as things go smoothly this week, they will debut their WKU products during Homecoming tailgating.

“Look for two guys carrying a lot of leather products and come say hi,” Jury said. “We’ll be taking orders and selling products.”

Clayton & Crume will also debut in the WKU bookstore sometime after Homecoming.

You can find Clayton & Crume online at their new website